“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.” – The Late and Former President, John F. Kennedy
On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave an inspiring speech which sparked a passion for science in an entire generation of people in the United States. This excerpt from the former president's speech at Rice University is vastly quoted from, especially when in discussions about space exploration. But his speech was vastly more significant than most people let on. President Kennedy was not just talking to a large crowd of college students, nor was he trying to persuade the country to pay for one of his campaign promises. Kennedy was inspiring a generation of people, that later became known as “Baby Boomers”, and generation after generation in the future to better themselves as a country, set lofty goals, and to begin to truly believe that the sky is no longer the limit. In the ongoing debate of the importance and logistics of Space Exploration, a recurring subtopic of debate often immerges about whether it is worth funding, who should fund it and what is the best way to go about financing such a massive undertaking. Research shows that, based on the General Social Survey results from 1970 to 2014, that the preferences of the public are mostly apolitical, favor mostly depends on cohort or generation identity (because of world events different generations of people experienced) , age, education level, science appreciation level, race, and then political stance, relevancy of each variable diminishing in that order. Data also suggests that, in a modern America, people who support space exploration and support higher spending on space exploration probably belong to a minority. Thirdly, due to a lack of support from the public, and a government more concerned with non-scientific spending, a new-hybrid funding option may be the solution, the missing link in the system, so to speak, to the unpopular idea of space exploration: Crowdfunding.
Before talking about a possible solution for funding space exploration, it is important to establish what the population thinks about the topic and it is also important to find the similarities among the group that supports increased spending on space exploration so that those seeking to put people in space can know the demographic of which they must convince to do so. In his study, Francois Nadeau of the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, provides data from, an un-biased insight into and interpretation of data from the GSS (General Social Survey). Nateau explains that people who responded to the GSS were asked a variety of questions that would give accurate data on their opinions on a variety of things that provide beneficial data such as space exploration spending, political standings, how people identify religiously and their ideology, a section to determine scientific literacy was included , and questions were also asked to produce statistics on support for organized science, and participants were also put into groups organized by generational cohorts based on birth dates. (Nadeau 4) The only limiting factor of this survey was that the majority of those who participated had taken on average 2-3 college level science courses, and some people might point out that although the GSS has been actively given from the 1970's to present day, that the amount of people who have actually responded to the survey does not accurately represent the population as a whole, this is however irrelevant as the people who did participate were very diverse in race, sex and age . From the evidence provided by the GSS, Nadeau concludes,
Firstly, spending preferences on space exploration are largely apolitical. Neither party identification, ideological leanings, nor religiosity were significantly associated with these spending preferences… Simply put, when asked about their spending preferences on space exploration, Americans are not likely to defer to their preferred political party's stance on the issue, nor are they likely to rely on political ideology or religious beliefs to guide their decision making. (Nadeau 6)
These findings are particularly helpful when using marketing practices to try and persuade people to support space exploration going forward. This tells someone trying to fund a mission to space or a space program
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